Warm, buttery, flaky croissants at home.

I am, no question, a complete sucker for laminated pastry. I love tearing a horn off a croissant and biting into  There is a small French bistro-type franchise in East Cobb called La Madeleine, that Mom and I must go to in order to have a proper visit over lattes and croissants, maybe a quiche. For a franchise, its pastries are delightful, thankfully fresh-baked every day. The Bunnery in St. Augustine, FL has every manner of pastry and baked sweet I could want; their croissants are as big as an appetizer plate, and you have to get there early to appreciate them fresh and warm from the oven. (Their coffees are equally huge-sized, and the specialty beverages artfully done.) I have yet to find a local (Athens-area) bakery that I can rave over for their pastries and atmosphere, but I haven’t been looking too hard, especially after recently I made up my mind to tackle croissants at home.

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No Yeast Required Cinnamon Rolls

I’m not sure I fall under the category of “normal” pregnancy. Yes, I’m hungry often, but not for weird food combinations (any weirder than usual, anyway, if you ask my husband – who else eats ketchup on scrambled eggs?), or really for anything in particular. Except for sushi. I am all about some sushi. But anyway. I don’t really want chocolate, ice cream, or sweets in general; more likely, I’m in the market for some chips, super-buttery-salty popcorn, or something else savory/salty.

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A revival, with a promise. (Recipe – Torta Española.)

Yes, my dears, I know it’s been a while. Almost three months, in fact. And I have no excuse for my absence – a lack of Internet (old news), but more relevant, a lack of motivation and inspiration. Even beyond that, a feeling of not quite right – maybe I shouldn’t blog, I don’t belong, my blog is useless and the name is all wrong and it doesn’t even match my URL. (that really does bother me more often than not, but it’s my fault.) so I’ve been thinking this thing over in my absence: to be or not to be? Despite the trials of keeping up, I didn’t take long to decide to be. Especially given that my last post was the 100th post on boonie foodie (huzzah!).

Being, of course, requires more organization and discipline and I have considered that as well. And I want to address other areas of my life besides just food, too – other areas that are related to food – or rather, food is related to those areas, like the garden I hope to grow in the backyard, the farmer’s market in town and the eggs I buy from a county local; or the quiet decision to live more sustainably and what that really means for me and mine. The real meaning of words and using them to their best. And of course, bettering my photography skills to something besides “i takez pix.” (Maybe I’ll even build that DIY lightbox that’s floated through almost all blogs, one day.) The point of this creation is not only to share myself with the rest of the world, but to better myself in the process – as it was, I was just writing and posting to post, following an arbitrary internal desire to follow a schedule that never really manifested.

My first desire is to set up a more dependable schedule – one day, food; one day, gardening and green, maybe two; and hopefully Menu Plan Monday. It depends on how much I can find to say. Hopefully my schedule is finally nailed down enough that I can schedule posts on Saturday for the following week. I’ll be working on a buffer in the next two weeks so I can actually get this in effect. In the meantime, I intend to clean up the blog overall: visual design, tags, language – all but the content and the photos. (The really poor posts I can use later for slow-thought days – remake and retry.)

In honor of this revival, here is the first recipe I’ve been inspired to put up in quite some time. It’s not new to many, and it’s not fancy; what it “is,” is filling, cheap and lovely in its own homely way. Many people have made it and loved it; I am now one of those fortunate folks. Torta Española or torta de patatas (or tortilla de papas, or a combination of these as your preference or region dictates) is nothing more than a layer of oh-so-thin potato and onion slices lightly browned, then covered with egg and cooked as an omelet. Simple to make and as versatile as you like it, my only recommendation is that you make it in batches that are manageable enough to flip, or beware that yours may end up as ugly as mine.

Oh, and add cheese.

Torta Española

serves 2-4

ingredients:
1 medium waxy potato, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper
5 eggs
2 tbsp water
2-3 oz cheese

directions:
Slice the potatoes and onions as thin as possible, using a mandoline if available. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; when the foam subsides, add the potatoes and onions and season generously with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir to coat, then let brown as a single layer for 2-4 minutes on each “side.”

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the water and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Shake the skillet to settle the potatoe-onion mixture into an even, flat layer. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and turn the pan to distribute the egg evenly. With one hand, stir the eggs in one direction while shaking the pan in the other. Do this until the eggs thicken a little, add cheese, then let cook until the eggs are browned on the bottom. Flip the omelet and let cook until the center is just set. Serve warm with ketchup.

Popsicles for breakfast? Berry smoothie protein pops.

I have a problem with breakfast. Not eating it, but fixing it. See, I’m trying to be better about breakfast, because it’s the most important meal of the day. And I’m trying to lose a little weight, too. Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to fix breakfast before I’ve had appropriate amounts of coffee, and by then two hours have gone by and I’m not hungry. Until lunchtime, when I could eat everything in the kitchen, all because I didn’t eat breakfast. So I’m trying to be better about it, but it’s hard because of the aforementioned autopilot/zombie state I’m in when I get out of bed. I want something I can grab, heat up, and eat. Nothing complicated. I don’t even like to have to put anything together, like yogurt and granola and fruit and nuts. Too much time taken with getting stuff out, eyeballing it in the cup, yadda ya. And yeah, sometimes I like doing that, but most mornings, not so much. Even worse, now that summer is upon us, I damn sure don’t want to eat anything that requires a hot stove or range. Microwave if necessary, but preferably just serve and eat.

Enter berry smoothie protein pops.

Everybody loves smoothies – maybe not like everyone loves parfaits, but close enough. Green smoothies, strawberry smoothies, blueberry-banana-chocolate smoothies. Good for you, quick and on the go. The ultimate breakfast. This is better: smoothie in popsicle form. Now you can eat your breakfast, get all your start-up nutrition and feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast! I can’t think of a better idea. All you need are your ingredients, a blender of some kind and preferably an ice cream maker. That last isn’t vital, but it makes your popsicles creamy as opposed to icy when you bite into your frozen breakfast treat. I prefer creamy, and I have two ice cream makers, so there you go.

Berry Smoothie Protein Pops
serves: 4-8, depending on the size of your molds

ingredients:

2 pints strawberries, or berries of choice
1 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 scoops vanilla protein powder
splash of milk or water (optional)

directions:

Hull strawberries; blend and strain into bowl to remove seeds (if desired). Whisk together strawberry puree, yogurt and protein powder and/or blend to thoroughly combine. Add water/milk to reach desired consistency if necessary. If using an ice cream maker, freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Spoon into popsicle molds and freeze 3-5 hours.

If you have any leftover smoothie fro-yo, you can always make it into scoopable fro-yo and have that for breakfast too. I did, and it was awesome. Especially because I made the bars in the morning, so all the scrapings of ‘hard’ fro-yo from the sides of the freezer bowl were mine for the taking. Am I the only one who enjoys that bit of making my own frozen treats? I hope not. It looks a mess, but it’s definitely my favorite part.

These also make great afternoon snacks in the heat that you don’t have to feel too guilty about eating. Again, healthy dessert! How much better can it get?

Biscuits, done one way.

Biscuits, like pound cake, are a requirement for Southern life. Biscuits and gravy (yuuuum), biscuits and jelly, the ever-popular chicken biscuit, smoke link biscuit… mm, mm. And no biscuits are the same – everyone has a different method for making biscuits, more often than not a method and recipe passed down from generation to generation. Everything is important and rather particular. Cullen’s grandmother, for example, used only Martha White (with Hot Rize®), Crisco and whole milk. She mixed with her hands in a certain bowl (The Biscuit Bowl) and baked biscuits on a certain pan (The Biscuit Pan). She never cut her biscuits, just rolled them out and tapped them flat. My grandmother, on the other hand, cut her biscuits with a biscuit cutter that her mother had used. I don’t remember what flour she used, but I’m almost sure she used lard when she was still making biscuits. Toward the end, she couldn’t make biscuits by hand anymore and used whop biscuits instead.

My grandmother passed away several years ago, before I got into cooking as much as I am now. My mother isn’t really a biscuit maker, and of course my father didn’t learn how to make biscuits from his mother. It somehow fell to Cullen’s grandmother to give me the Biscuit Touch – and even so, she never taught me how to make biscuits “like Grandmoma made.” But it was because of her that I tried making biscuits at all, and because of her that we have The Biscuit Bowl and The Biscuit Pan. Yes, in our house. And I don’t make biscuits exactly like Grandmoma did, but I make them all right.

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